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2 Guns
Release Date: Aug. 2, 2013
Reviewed: Aug. 4, 2013, 6:58 p.m.
2 Guns image Rather disappointingly, this isn’t a biopic about Marky Mark’s arms.
Get Lasik.
…1 Flop
By: Christian Treubig
2 Guns image
Way too much chess and not enough checkers.

As a proud American, I work tirelessly to instill in my three children the mindset that free handouts are a scourge, inevitably leading to financial and emotional ruin. I believe in tough love, but still, love. The love gets particularly tough about ten days before Christmas, when I order my kids to walk the perimeter of our property line to put up the “Santa: Keep Out” signs that I made them paint when they were five-ish. I can’t raise solid citizens if they expect an obese, unshaven pedophile to gift them brand new netbooks every year simply for being alive. The signs have worked like a charm, except for last year, when I caught the jolly fat man in our living room trying to sneak a Wii U under the tree. I was about to pull the trigger on the shotgun, but I thought better of it as the kids cried and pleaded with me as they looked on in horror from the stairway.

Obviously, I also make my children politely return any holiday cash proceeds they receive from our socialist relatives, along with a handwritten note explaining why they are not worth the X number of dollars they have been given for doing nothing. Of course, we also send along our family Christmas photo. If any aforementioned relatives are reading this, you may have noticed that in said photo, there are apparently scores of wrapped Christmas presents under the tree behind us. Don’t worry, though. Those boxes are empty, for use as dummy props solely to spice up the shot. (Yes, I admit it’s a bit mean to have empty boxes awaiting my children on Christmas morning, but learning to cope with getting your hopes dashed is an invaluable life skill.)

Once 2 Guns, a film with a middling script and marginally interesting premise at best, was somehow gifted the dual box office dynamos of Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg, it was doomed. Why bother trying when you’re guaranteed to fill the theaters with nearly every demographic a Hollywood exec could dream of? Denzel brings in blacks, lonely housewives with secret dark desires, and guys who never stop smirking. Mark brings in whites, rave club go-go dancers, and bigoted Bostonians with Jewish-sounding names.

There are red flags right from the start that this is a shoddily constructed production. The first scene is a great one, featuring the ebony and ivory leads in the throes of a humorous banter regarding what type of eggs to order for breakfast. However, as you’re watching, you’ll begin to suspect, correctly, that this scene is by far the best in the whole movie and is not the first event to occur chronologically. The opening sequence was adapted into its role as opening sequence purely to draw you in with false hopes.

It doesn’t seem like anyone involved with 2 Guns really cared about the final product, and this is not due to Denzel and Mark’s expertise in the art of nonchalance. This movie has a very complicated plot (we’ll get to that), but the actors’ emotions never ebb and flow with the peaks and valleys of the story, so the audience is left to their own devices to interpret the relative significance of whatever we just witnessed. The actors didn’t seem to “get the gist” of many of their scenes. It seems like the director explained what was going on, then the actors said “Yea, I get it,” when they really had no idea and just wanted to move production along and take an early lunch. Then, when they finished the scene, the director probably wanted to do another take, but then thought “Screw it, I don’t wanna piss off Marky Mark.” The result is a film not only devoid of emotion, but also the “attitude” that could have been easily provided by the two super-cool lead actors, if only they had put in an extra thirty minutes of work per day. This will surely be the only Denzel Washington-Mark Wahlberg buddy flick we will ever see, and the fact that it is so unmemorable is a true shame.

There’s no way anybody read the entire script. If they did, it would have surely induced brain hemorrhaging. The chap with whom I currently duel, currently hidden from your view via JavaScript, claims he was able to follow along the whole time, while I was quietly pondering if 2 Guns has the most complex plot I have ever witnessed. I guess that’s why he bangs dimes and I’m left trolling for cyber-relationships on unofficial True Blood fan sites.

The very basic setup is as such: Denzel and Mark are undercover agents for two different government agencies, unbeknownst to each other (if I go any further on this point, your head will explode long before I finish the paragraph). They thus have different motivations, but cooperate in the robbery of what they believe will be $3 million from a bank. To their surprise, their take is closer to $43 million, setting up the intrigue for the rest of the movie. Though I really have no idea, this differentiation between two very large sums of money may be the root of the film’s excessive complexity. You’re left wondering if the characters interested in/involved with the $3 million sum are the same people interested in/involved with the $43 million sum, and vice versa. Is the $3 million a subset of the $43 million, or is it one unified batch of cash? You’ll spend an inordinate amount of mental energy trying to parse the various “what ifs” related to how things would have gone down differently if the dollar amount was flipped, or if it ever really mattered.

Even if you manage to plow your head through the multiple double and triple-crosses, it will be tough to ignore the numerous screenplay contrivances, such as people always showing up at exactly the right/wrong place at exactly the right/wrong time, or Mark driving through the steel gate of a heavily guarded military installation in a thirty year old minivan. Still, you could easily forgive those shortcomings as well, because ultimately, you’re paying to see Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg duke it out on the silver screen. What could be better? Unfortunately, the answer is almost anything.

SCORE (Out of 10):
Get Lasik.
“I Wish I had four thumbs…”
By: Steve Loori
2 Guns image
Denzel’s thievery was at its best alongside Charles Bronson

Let me start by saying that I personally never much cared for Denzel Washington. He is a strong actor, when his choosy script selection process finds him the same role twenty different times. Denzel is great if you want a calm, cool, and collected smooth talker who always manages to display otherworldly intellectual puzzle solving. A chameleon Denzel sure is not. I can list the Denzel movies that are worth it for me: Philadelphia, Fallen, He Got Game, Remember the Titans, and of course the peak of Denzel, the movie that put him on the map thanks to his lovable, goonish, law-breaking ways, Death Wish, where he shined as an uncredited fella named “Alley Mugger #1”. Oh no! I forgot Training Day! Maybe that’s because it is not good. Shhhh… don’t tell anyone. Anywho, I knew exactly what I was going to get going into the theatre to see 2 Guns. Wahlberg would carry the comedic load, while displaying his muscles. Denzel would show his brilliance while demonstrating a trouble-with-authority, and of course, with a partner. I did not expect much to come from this duo, and, I must say, I was surprised.

Somehow in that mix of generic dialogue between crappy characters that these two goofball actors have played dozens of times, there was a lapse of judgment over the storyline in 2 Guns. There was a ten-minute or so first scene, during which I found myself turning to my fellow chap on a few occasions to ask “why is this happening and why is it still going on?” Upon that scene ending, I was stunned to find myself in the same exact scenario during the second scene. Why was this storyline not happening? Why were we watching Wahlberg wink at a waitress and then marveling as he delved into a semantic discussion with Denzel about why he winks at people? All throughout this process, nothing was moving forward. Soon after, the tandem crossed the border to make a major league deal with a Mexican drug cartel. Somehow in this forum of men that you “don’t want to mess with” (they showed that they do not play games by having a head in a bowling ball bag in a chair in a super casual way) Wahlberg found a way to show off his unmatched shooting talent and make jokes about the big dawg’s henchmen right to their faces. I think this was supposed to show the absurd gall of Wahlberg, but all it really did was reveal the lack of toughness this Mexican thug crew possessed, negating a major piece of the movie. Within these first two scenes, running jokes and trademark phrases were supposed to be established, but you cannot sacrifice your storyline as a means to get the audience in on a zinger coming an hour later. Or, you can; it will just hurt your overall product.

Moving forward in 2 Guns, more characters show up to be entangled in this web of lies, intrigue, and money. James Marsden is a naval officer slash jerk, which he pulls off. Paula Patton is pretty bad and predictable, but she shows off her boobs. Thanks for coming Paula Patton. Most notably, Bill Paxton plays Earl. From the moment you see Earl, you can tell that he is the head honcho and has his hands tied up into pretty dirty and heavy things. Paxton does a swell job bringing this character to life, and he tends to be the linchpin to the storyline’s progress. He looks cool and he does cool, villainous things. Paxton, an actor who tends to steal the show in his films (Game over man!), was clearly and unquestionably the best thing about this movie.

Throughout 2 Guns, there is a fair amount of well-done action scenes, but very little that sticks out. A lot of it was rather generic – gunfights, amazing accuracy from Wahlberg’s pistol, and some explosions. Of course, there was a lovely quarrel between Wahlberg and Denzel when the two unlikely compatriots had enough of each other. They even ended their fight with a joke that went on too much. Vintage buddy action movie stuff right there. They just don’t make them like they used to, though.

I know I have given this score out a few times recently, but this movie was really bad. It is another shining example of a summer blockbuster that sounds better than it is, and it only sounds better to people who lack cognitive skills. Hollywood crams garbage like 2 Guns down our throats all of the time, and there are plenty of baby birds out there waiting with wide mouths for moronic sustenance. There really was nothing redeeming about this movie. I liked Bill Paxton and Cyclops, but very little else. I know I have been getting repetitive so I may sound like a broken record, or the Phillip Phillips song “Home”, but I cannot stress it enough: go see White House Down instead.

SCORE (Out of 10):